Shooting for The Stars - Rohit Jha

By Nasos Papadopoulos, EF Head of Content

Article5 Minute Read

EF is proud to announce the $115 Million first close of its new Global Fund. This will allow us to continue funding even more incredible individuals from all over the world to build game changing companies. Rohit Jha is the Co-Founder of Transcelestial, a company developing a laser communication solution to replace existing wireless communication technology.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have gazed up at the heavens, inspired by the wonders of the universe to imagine new possibilities and a new future on Earth. At EF we encourage our founders to shoot for the moon and tackle the toughest problem they can conceive, a problem that represents uncharted territory. Rohit Jha from our first Singapore cohort is one of the most visionary founders we’ve come across and is building a company which reflects that — a space laser network to replace existing wireless technology and transform the future of human communication.

Rohit grew up in Jamshedpur in the East of India, a town best known for being the home of Tata Steel and named after the company’s legendary founder Jamsetji Tata, who constructed the city in the early 1900s to house his army of workers. Tata was a personal hero of Rohit’s growing up — even as a young boy he admired the incredible legacy this man had built and the initiative to build a city that fuelled one of the world’s greatest companies.

Rohit went to an all-boys school where there was no fixed curriculum and he was taught by a rotating cohort of Jesuit priests. The boys were encouraged to use the extensive school library to explore their interests and there was even a telescope on the roof, something Rohit credits for developing his passion for space, along with his love of Sci-Fi.

Back in 2002, Rohit’s parents went away for the weekend leaving him and his brother Rahul at home. The boys borrowed a Star Wars DVD Box Set from a friend and proceeded to binge-watch all 5 films in the set three times over, glued to the TV in wonder all weekend. From that moment on, Rohit was hooked on Sci-Fi, immersing himself in the works of Isaac Asimov, Andre Alice Norton and Scott Card and spending countless hours pondering the world of the future and the wonders of space.

Despite his love of reading, Rohit was more than just a bookworm…he was also a maker with a love for building things and understanding how they worked. When his father brought home his old computer for the boys to use, ten year old Rohit proceeded to open, clean and reassemble the machine before re-installing Windows 98 on it. He taught himself to program and when he was 12, Rohit wrote a DOS-based interactive game to teach maths to students in Grades 4–6, which was driven by his belief that teachers were too slow. He eventually sold the game for the princely sum of $1.50 to his school’s computer lab and while the financial windfall wasn’t huge, the thing Rohit says he fell in love with most was the feeling of building something and creating value for others, something that would stay with him throughout his career.

After school, Rohit moved to Singapore to take his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at NTU and stayed in the city to pursue a career in finance with RBS after graduating. In his role there, he focused on FX streaming technology and quickly started having a positive effect on the company, using his technical background to solve a number of key security issues.

But after 3 years at RBS, Rohit grew frustrated with his lack of impact. He loved the work he was doing and the people he worked with, but he couldn’t see himself having the kind of impact he was so desperate for — the kind of world-changing significance that his hero Jamsetji Tata had made. “I was thinking, when I’m 50 and I look back,” he says, “I want to see a life that’s been fruitful, where I’ve contributed back to society using the skills I’ve picked up. I didn’t see that happening at RBS any more, so that’s when I made a call and quit.”

He then spent a year off picking up some more advanced Physics and when a friend who’d been on an EF London cohort told Rohit that the company was coming to Singapore, he spoke to EFSG Director Alex Crompton and applied for the first cohort.

Rohit met his co-founder Mohamed Danesh on the first day of EFSG1 and the two never looked back, forming Transcelestial, a company developing a laser communication solution to replace existing wireless communication technology. They’ve since gone on to raise a $2.5 million seed round that included some high profile investors and have demonstrated their wireless laser technology rolling out 5G with South Korean TelCo giant SK telecom.

From fantasising about the wonders of the universe to immersing himself in the world of Sci-Fi, Rohit’s imagination has always been directed up into the skies and forwards into the future. But now, the little boy who used to stare up at the heavens through the school telescope isn’t just imagining the future, he’s building it — and we’re as excited as he is for what comes next.

At EF, we want our founders to build world changing companies because the opportunity cost of not doing so is too great. If you want to scale your ambition like Rohit and build a world changing company, apply now for one of our next cohorts in London, Berlin, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangalore at joinef.com.

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